Preparation in the Present
I have been looking for Buddhist quotes regarding the present moment. I haven’t quite found what I’ve been looking for. What I find, particularly in Zen, is the concept of being intimate with the present moment or activity, withholding nothing. That is not the same as the idea that this moment is the only moment.
Buddhism always brings me back to reality. The emphasis is always on the ephemerality of this moment, the never-ending change of this moment, not a denial of later, future moments. Anicca is the ultimate reality; solidity is the fantasy.
Since nothing huge is going on in my life at this time (yea!), I have been trying to do a little organizing for when Barry passes. I’ve been chipping away at this for a few years. Perhaps I am just paranoid, but while lying in bed, sometimes I listen real hard to try to hear his breathing. I’ve started writing his obituary, a morbid but necessary task. The main reason I do such things is because I know that I will be overwhelmed when the time comes. I will have no excuse for not having done everything in my power beforehand. Lots of people are blindsided by a loved one’s passing; I have no such defense.
Part of me wants to just focus on now. I’ve dealt with so much in the past few years. That is the irresponsible part of me. “Don’t worry about later. Everything will be fine,” it tells me. Will it really be fine, if I don’t take careful steps today? I look around at Michigan’s economy and the answer is NO. I see people all around me just waiting for the good-paying jobs to come back. The smart people continue to leave. (Why would an intelligent person stay and make peanuts for their skillset?) The exodus of talent and education from the state guarantees that businesses looking for talent will look elsewhere. Maybe it will be fine thirty years from now, when the powers that be finally deal with reality. Until then, it is so very not fine for those who remain. Pretending that this moment is the only moment only compounds the problem.
We all need to deal with the temporariness of things, making plans and accommodations for the predictable. We can only make those preparations in the present moment. This may not be my preferred way of spending a beautiful summer day, but the alternative is to risk being totally overwhelmed when the weather sucks and everyone is demanding instant answers and cash.